David Ayer, who directed Suicide Squad (2016), defended his version of the film in an open letter on Twitter after criticism and comparisons with James Gunn’s standalone sequel film The Suicide Squad that released in the UK on Friday.
The filmmaker, who has films like Training Day and The Fast and The Furious to his credit, also disowned the studio cut of his 2016 film.
Ayer’s letter came in reply to a tweet from a journalist who said watching Gunn’s film made him think that Ayer should abandon the idea of making his director’s cut.
As a result, #ReleaseTheAyerCut started trending on Twitter on Thursday.
“I put my life to Suicide Squad,” Ayer wrote. “I made something amazing.”
The filmmaker added that his cut of the film is intricate and an emotional journey with a theme that resonates deeply with him.
“The studio cut is not my movie,” he said.
“And my cut is not the 10 week’s director cut — It’s a fully mature edit by Lee Smith standing on the incredible work by John Gilroy. It’s all Steven Price’s brilliant score, with not a single radio song in the whole thing. It has traditional character arcs, amazing performances, a solid 3rd act resolution. A handful of people have seen it. If someone says they have seen it, they haven’t,” added Ayer.
Ayer was referring to the several edits that Warner Bros made to the original film that features actors Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Cara Delevingne, and others. The studio cut that was released in theatres was almost universally panned.
Despite negative reviews, Ayer’s film ended up winning the Oscar for best make-up and hair-styling.
“It’s frustrating because I made a really heartfelt drama and it got ripped to pieces and they tried to turn it into Deadpool, which it just wasn’t supposed to be. And then you take the hit, you’re the captain of the ship, my name was on it,” Ayer told the Entertainment Weekly in March. “I made an amazing movie. It’s an amazing movie, it just scared the s— out of the executives,” he added.
A similar fate was met with by Zack Snyder’s 2017 film Justice League. When Snyder had exited the film’s production owing to his daughter’s death, Joss Whedon was hired to complete the shoot. Whedon, who was recently called out for his alleged abusive behaviour on the sets of Justice League, conducted re-shoots and incorporated several changes. Actors like Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman in DC films, had multiple concerns with the revised version of the film, which received mixed reviews and performed poorly at the box office.
Following this, fans petitioned for the release of Snyder’s Cut and turned it into a social media movement. The #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement compelled Warner Bros to acknowledge the situation and green-light the Snyder Cut. Zack Snyder’s Justice League was released in March and was generally acknowledged to be superior to the theatrical version.
After the announcement of the Snyder Cut in May 2020, fans launched a similar campaign for Ayer’s Suicide Squad, called #ReleaseTheAyerCut. The filmmaker himself supported this and has been trying to get his director’s cut of the film released. However, it is unclear if his version will see the light of day.
Meanwhile, Ayer’s letter on Friday showed no ill will towards Gunn’s new film. He congratulated both Gunn and Warner Bros for the success of the sequel, which opened to positive reviews.
Ayer concluded his letter by saying that he will not speak about this publicly anymore.